For the first time in its storied history, the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference is pleased to announce its inaugural 2018 Hall of Fame Class brought to you by GEICO.
"This is an exciting day for our conference as we announce our first-ever MASCAC Hall of Fame Class," MASCAC Commissioner Angela Baumann said. "The MASCAC has over 45 years of rich history and we are excited to have the opportunity to recognize the achievements of those that helped to shape our conference and help it excel."
There are five categories for nomination: student-athlete from a men's team, student-athlete from a women's team, overall team, administrator and coach. The 2018 MASCAC Hall of Fame Class is as follows
Paul Bogan, Howard C. Smith, James Sullivan - Administrators
Evelyn Oquendo, Salem State University – Student-athlete from a female team
Peter Laviolette, Westfield State University – Student-athlete from a male team
Dee Dee Enabenter, Bridgewater State University - Coach
Worcester State Women's Basketball 1980 - Team
Bogan, Smith and Sullivan need no introduction as three of the original founders of the MASCAC. In 1970-71, Smith, a state college trustee, pushed for the Athletic Directors of the State Colleges to meet and discuss forming an athletic conference. In June of 1971, an agreement was reached among the schools and the MASCAC was born. Sullivan, the Director of Athletics at Boston State College (now UMass-Boston) was appointed by the Board of Trustees as the first MASCAC Commissioner. Following the creation of the conference, the Conference members voted to award a cup annually to the institution, which excelled in overall athletic achievement. The trophy was named after Smith for his tremendous contribution to athletics.
Sullivan served as the MASCAC Commissioner from 1974-1981. During the 1976-77 academic year, the state institution women's athletic teams were incorporated into the Smith Cup competition on a trial basis. This expansion made the MASCAC the oldest men’s and women’s playing conference. At the annual meeting of 1977, it was voted to make women's athletics a permanent part of the Conference. Bogan served as Westfield State Athletic Director from 1963 to 1995 and was an important part of the creation of the MASCAC. Under his leadership, Westfield State expanded from two sports to as many as 22. In 1981, Bogan took over as the MASCAC Commissioner until 1990.
Oquendo, this year's student-athlete from a female team honoree, is Salem State's all-time women’s leading scorer with 1,738 and a three-time National Women’s Basketball Association First Team All-American. She co-captained the Lady Vikings to the College’s first ever NCAA national title in 1986. A four-time All-New England and All-MASCAC performer, she was 1986 New England College Athlete of the Year and runner-up National Division III player of the year in 1984. She was inducted into Salem State's Hall of Fame in 1991.
The 2018 student-athlete from a male team inductee Laviolette had a solid career at Westfield State in men's ice hockey. He currently ranks 14th in career scoring with 43 goals and 44 assists in the Owls' record books. He was inducted into the Westfield State Hall of Fame in 2002. After college, he took his talents to minor league hockey before making the jump to the NHL during the 1988-89 season. He also competed as a member of the US Olympic team in 1988 and 1994. After concluding his playing career, Laviolette began coaching first in the minors before the New York Islanders came calling in 2001. With the Carolina Hurricanes, he would lead the team to a Stanley Cup title in 2006. After a few other coaching stints, he currently is the head coach of the Nashville Predators which he led to the Stanley Cup finals in 2017.
Enabenter had an outstanding career for Bridgewater State as a student-athlete but more impactful as a coach. She served as the Bears head softball coach from 1984-2000 and is currently the all-time winningest coach with a 429-153-3 (.736) record. She was named MASCAC Coach of the Year three times (1998 (co), 1999, 2000) Under her tutelage, the Bears made 13 postseason appearances, including 12 NCAA Tournaments. In 1994, the team advanced to the NCAA DIII National Championship finals after winning their regional. For their success, she was named the National Softball Coaches Association (NSCA) Coach of the Year in 1994. That next year, she was picked to coach the Nigerian national team in the 1995 African Games in Botswana, Africa.
Rounding out this year's class is the 1980 Worcester State women's basketball team. Before joining the NCAA, women's teams in the MASCAC competed in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). The Lancers would go on to win the 1980 AIAW Division III National Championship in a thrilling 76-73 win over University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. The team, led by head coach Donna Devlin, finished 24-2 that season and beat local Division I team Holy Cross on their way to the title. The following season, the Lancers made it back to the Final Four and finished with a 28-2 record.
The inductees will be recognized at a formal MASCAC Hall of Fame induction which will be coupled with a MASCAC athletic championship or event at the site in which the individual competed or was housed during the 2018-19 year.